Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Canada to maintain COVID-related travel restrictions until at least April 30. Some provinces increase local measures, extend into May.

This alert affects Canada

This alert began 14 Apr 2020 21:42 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel and movement restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
The federal government in Canada will continue its series of nationwide restrictions as part of the country's effort to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through at least April 30, while some individual provinces have adjusted their own responses to the disease activity, in some cases extending local restrictions into mid-May.

On the national level, Canadian authorities have banned individuals displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19 from domestic air and train travel through at least April 30. Travelers who are denied boarding will be barred from air or train travel for at least 14 days unless they can produce a medical certificate confirming that any symptoms are unrelated to COVID-19. Canadian authorities have indicated that they plan to extend the current closure of the nation's land border with the US to nonessential travel beyond its scheduled April 20 expiration date. The closure does not affect trade; basic goods, food, and medicines continue to move between the two countries, and cargo trucks are not affected. Nonresident foreign nationals have not been allowed to enter Canada since March 18, with the exception of aircrew members and diplomats, as well as immediate family members of Canadian citizens, and US citizens traveling by plane for essential purposes. No person exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms is allowed to board planes flying to Canada, including Canadian citizens.

All international flights to Canada - with the exception of trade and business flights, as well as flights from the US, Mexico, Caribbean, and St. Pierre and Miquelon - are landing only at Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto, Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Montreal Trudeau Airport (YUL), and Calgary International Airport (YYC). Canadian citizens and residents returning from abroad are being ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days. Authorities may order those entering the country to isolate at a hotel, if they believe the traveler may put others at risk, including family members 65 years or older. While the government in Ottawa has not stipulated how long these measures will remain in effect, they will probably continue into at least early May. Authorities had previously banned any ship carrying more than 500 passengers from docking in Canadian ports through at least July 1.

On the local level, some provinces - most notably Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia - have tightened and/or extended the duration of a number of their COVID response measures. Restrictions currently in effect in Canada's individual provinces and territories include:

  • Ontario: Officials have extended an emergency declaration in the province that orders the closure of nonessential businesses and bans gatherings; the closure is now in effect through at least May 12. Authorities have also ordered the closure of outdoor recreational facilities, including sport parks and beaches. Residents must remain inside their homes and limit the use of public transport, except to perform essential tasks.
  • Quebec: Officials have ordered the closure of nonessential businesses through at least May 4 and have asked residents to remain inside their homes, except to perform essential tasks. Among the businesses that remain open are healthcare facilities, essential government services, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, and those in the telecommunications, security, and transport sectors. Housing construction and mining projects will be allowed starting April 15, with some restrictions. Authorities have also limited travel to several remote regions within Quebec to avoid further spread of the virus.
  • British Columbia: Officials declared a state of emergency and have banned gatherings of 50 people or more until further notice. While authorities have not ordered nonessential businesses to close, many have suspended operations in order to avoid large gatherings of people and maintain social distancing. People entering British Columbia must provide personal information, and plans to self-quarantine for 14 days. If asymptomatic, travelers may only leave their homes to obtain basic goods, or to attend an urgent matter while wearing a protective mask. Officials have also ordered the closure of all provincial parks.
  • Alberta: Officials ordered the closure of nonessential businesses and banned gatherings of 15 people or more until further notice. Vehicles are banned from entering provincial parks.
  • Manitoba: Officials have ordered all persons entering the province from elsewhere in Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, except those working in essential services. Authorities have also ordered the closure of nonessential businesses and a ban on gatherings of 10 or more people until further notice.
  • Saskatchewan: Officials have banned gatherings of 10 or more people and have closed nonessential businesses and recreational facilities until further notice.
  • Nova Scotia: Officials have ordered all persons entering the province from elsewhere in Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival, except those working in essential services. Authorities have also limited all gatherings to five people or less, and ordered the closure of nonessential businesses, parks and beaches, through at least April 19.
  • New Brunswick: On March 25, officials ordered nonessential businesses to close and have banned gatherings of 10 people or more until further notice. Nonessential travel into the province is prohibited, and police are authorized to deny entry. Anyone allowed to enter the province will need to self-quarantine for 14 days, except those working in essential services.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Officials have ordered all people entering the province from elsewhere in Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, except those working in essential services. Authorities have also closed nonessential businesses and banned gatherings of 10 people or more.
  • Prince Edward Island: Officials have ordered all people entering the province from elsewhere in Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, except those working in essential services. Officials have ordered the closure of nonessential businesses and banned gatherings of 10 people or more until further notice.
  • Northwest Territories: Officials have banned most travel into the region by air, land, or water since March 21 and closed Highway 7 (Liard Highway) between Kilometer 1 and 5 starting 1700 March 24. Traffic along Highway 1 has also been mostly restricted. Emergency and law enforcement services may continue using both roads.
  • Nunavut: Officials banned nonresidents from entering the territory starting 2359 March 24. Only people working in critical services will be allowed to enter. Residents who do enter must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Yukon: Officials have ordered all people entering the province to self-quarantine for 14 days, except those working in essential services. Nonessential businesses have been ordered to close and gatherings of 10 or more people are banned.


Residents of Canada are being asked to stay at home as much as possible. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Canada are similar to actions adopted by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Canada - Coronavirus Updates: www.canada.ca

Ontario - Coronavirus Updates: www.ontario.ca

Quebec - Coronavirus Updates: www.quebec.ca